Being Well 710: Food and Water Safety

Being Well 710:  Food and Water Safety

>>Lori Casey:
Coming up on Being Well, Gloria Spear from the Coles County Health Department will be
here to talk about Food and Water Safety. We’ll learn more about the most common culprits
that cause food borne illness, and most importantly, how to prevent them in the first place. Gloria
will fill us in on all the details just ahead on Being Well.
>>Female Speaker 1: Production of Being Well is made possible
in part by Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Systems; supporting healthy lifestyles, eating a heart-healthy
diet, staying active, managing stress, and regular check-ups are ways of reducing your
health risk. Proper health is important to all at Sarah Bush Lincoln Health System; information
available at Alpha-Care specializing in adult care services that range from those
recovering from recent hospitalizations to someone attempting to remain independent while
coping with a disability, chronic illness, or age related infirmity. Alpha-Care, compassionate,
professional home care. Additional funding by Jazzercise of Charleston.
>>Lori Casey: Thanks for watching Being Well. I’m here with
Gloria Spear from the Coles County Health Department. Thanks for stopping by.
>>Gloria Spear: Excellent to be here.
>>Lori Casey: Tell us a little bit about your role at the
Health Department and what do you do.>>Gloria Spear:
I’m the director of environmental health and I oversee food inspections, water well inspections,
now newly geothermal inspections, septic inspections, I also conduct tattoo inspections, body art
inspections, and nuisance.>>Lori Casey:
Okay, so today we’re talking about really food and water safety. So, let’s get into
food because we’ve probably all ate something and got, I don’t know if I had a food borne
illness or what that is. So, let’s get into that. What are the most common sources or
culprits that cause food borne illness?>>Gloria Spear:
The most common cultrate is norovirus. It lasts 24-hours; it is a virus. Symptoms are
projectile vomiting, not nausea first, but projectile vomiting, and goes into a watery
diarrhea. Followed by salmonella. The next culprits would be staphylococcus aurous and
clostridium perfringens. But norovirus accounts for more than half of the food borne illnesses.
>>Lori Casey: So, what are some– you described, but what
are some of the classic symptoms of food borne illness?
>>Gloria Spear: What you want to be careful for is nausea,
vomiting, diarrhea and fever. And if you have those symptoms if you work in a restaurant,
you don’t want to go to work, and ideally, you don’t want to prepare food for your family.
>>Lori Casey: So, if you are stricken with a food borne
illness, how long, you know, you eat something, what’s the typical– when will you start to
feel symptomatic?>>Gloria Spear:
That actually varies as well.>>Lori Casey:
Okay.>>Gloria Spear:
If it’s a virus, if you’re talking about hepatitis, it can be 45 days. If it is an intoxication,
an intoxication is when bacteria sits on the food and it multiplies and it grows and it
produces a toxin, then you eat that food, you can get sick anywhere from 30 minutes
to two hours.>>Lori Casey:
Okay.>>Gloria Spear:
General rule of thumb, if it’s a basic infection where you’ve consumed the bacteria and it
makes you sick because it’s growing inside of you, it’s 12-24 hours.
>>Lori Casey: How long do you typically, if you do get that,
do the symptoms last? Or does it take your body to get over that?
>>Gloria Spear: And again, it depends on what you’re talking
about. The vast majority are about 24 hours and that’s the same reason that it’s not reported.
>>Lori Casey: Okay.
>>Gloria Spear: You’re sick, you get better in 24 hours, then
you say, you know, it was just a stomach bug.>>Lori Casey:
So, if you– is that stomach, you know, say you get salmonella at a family picnic, if
you get that then can you give it to other people or is it just because you ingested
that food and it’s affecting you?>>Gloria Spear:
You can absolutely give it to other people.>>Lori Casey:
Okay.>>Gloria Spear:
The bacteria shed in your fecal matter, so if you’re not washing your hands thoroughly,
you can spread that to your family by shaking someone’s hand, you can spread it to them.
Food borne illness isn’t simply spread through food, it can be spread through food, water,
and contaminated surfaces.>>Lori Casey:
Okay. So, I want you to clarify, is food poisoning and food borne illness the same thing?
>>Gloria Spear: Yes.
>>Lori Casey: Okay.
>>Gloria Spear: We call it food borne illness but the other
thing is the 24-hour flu and the stomach flu, that’s all food borne illness as well.
>>Lori Casey: Okay, so like rotavirus, norovirus, that sort
of stuff, or gastroenteritis?>>Gloria Spear:
It’s all considered food borne illness, yes.>>Lori Casey:
Okay, all right, so I know that there are, you know, food borne illnesses can be fairly
mild to pretty severe.>>Gloria Spear:
Absolutely.>>Lori Casey:
Can we kind of walk through some of the more severe cases?
>>Gloria Spear: The more severe cases, if you get E. coli,
you will notice a bloody diarrhea. It can go into HUS, which is when organ transplants
are necessary, and your quality of life will never be the same. By the same token, you’ve
got listeria, and one common problem with listeria is it causes miscarriages. And some
women don’t realize they’ve got listeria until they have miscarried a child. And then there’s
botulism, which is certain death if it’s not treated.
>>Lori Casey: Okay, I mean, we hear about these botulism
Botox. Is that the same thing?>>Gloria Spear:
No.>>Lori Casey:
Okay, it’s different. Botulism is pretty severe, what causes that? Or where does that come
from?>>Gloria Spear:
It’s actually in the soil.>>Lori Casey:
Okay.>>Gloria Spear:
And it’s an aerobic bacteria, anaerobic bacteria, which means it does best when there’s no oxygen
at all, it can grown. The symptoms actually immolate drunkenness. So, you’re slurred speech,
and what happens if you don’t get it taken care of– there is an antitoxin for it, but
if nothing is done, you eventually are not able to swallow and you’re not able to breathe
because it effects your nervous system.>>Lori Casey:
Okay. We had talked about, before the show started, talk about what are the most common
food sources. Are there certain things that are just known to be ripe with bacteria?
>>Gloria Spear: You won’t believe it, yes.
>>Lori Casey: Okay.
>>Gloria Spear: It’s vegetables, produce are the number one
source for food borne illness.>>Lori Casey:
Okay.>>Gloria Spear:
It can account for 49% of it, and of those, leafy green vegetables are the number one.
>>Lori Casey: Okay, and why is that?
>>Gloria Spear: Different reasons, people don’t wash them,
it’s important to wash them well, and the other thing is if it’s watered with contaminated
water. You know, if you’ve got a garden and your downhill from a cow farm, then that manure
containing E. coli, can get into the vegetables and actually inside of it so there’s no washing
it off. The best thing to remember, is thoroughly wash your vegetables.
>>Lori Casey: Yeah, we often hear of outbreaks of like alfalfa
sprouts seem to be, cause a lot of, to where some restaurants don’t even put them on sandwiches
anymore.>>Gloria Spear:
Yes, and that can be it. When you’re getting– if you don’t grow them, then you don’t always
know what’s going on with it. And what happens is a lot of times, that’s the cultrate. It
is watered with something that is contaminated.>>Lori Casey:
So, but when you think you go to the grocery store and there’s the beautiful produce and
it’s all laid out and the apples are nice and shiny, you sometimes forget that a lot
of people have touched those and picked them up and, oh I don’t really want this one, and
they put it back.>>Gloria Spear:
Absolutely.>>Lori Casey:
So, wash your fruits and vegetables. What are some other common sources of food that
are ripe with bacteria for food poisoning?>>Gloria Spear:
25% of food poisoning is attributed to meat, followed by dairy and eggs, and then lastly
is fish and crustacean.>>Lori Casey:
Okay, so, when we often hear about E. coli and E. coli outbreak, it always seems to be
associated with meat and why is that?>>Gloria Spear:
Generally, that’s because you have– the cattle has E. coli in its intestine and it’s a matter
of processing it. And if the intestinal tract is nipped then that matter gets into the meat.
If you’re talking about a whole cut of meat, even if you eat it raw, you can cook that
just enough that it’s– or if you eat it rare, but you can cook it enough to kill the E.
coli. But when you’re talking about hamburger, every part of that is considered surface and
so it gets mixed in. And if it’s not cooked thoroughly, hence you don’t get rid of the
E. coli.>>Lori Casey:
So, let’s talk about– we’ll talk about dining out a little bit later, but talk about some
things that we should do in our own home to prevent food borne illnesses when we’re preparing
our own food.>>Gloria Spear:
There’s lots of things.>>Lori Casey:
Okay.>>Gloria Spear:
First of all, start with your grocery store. When you go grocery shopping, make that the
last. If you have several errands to do, make that the very last errand you run, and when
you’re in the grocery store, make your frozen and your refrigerated foods the last items
you pick.>>Lori Casey:
Okay.>>Gloria Spear:
If you have a long way to get to home, pack a cooler or a freezer bag to keep those things
cool. Now, once you get home, it’s important that you chill. So, any cold food needs to
go immediately into the refrigerator or freezer. Cook, cook your meets thoroughly. We’ve got
temperature charts online so that you can use those, and that’s– getting a thermometer’s
not mandatory, but it’s a good idea. Make sure your poultry and your pork, the juices
run clear so that you know that it’s all the way done, that your ground beef isn’t pink
in the middle. Separate; don’t use the same cutting board or knife. You don’t want to
cut the chicken and then put the lettuce on it without washing it. So, use separate; if
you don’t have separate, then absolutely wash in between. And clean, even at home. We complain
that the restaurants not washing their hands, but I don’t think we realize when we’re at
home we may not be washing our hands either because we’re at home. So, it’s important
to wash surfaces, wash vegetables, wash your hands several times throughout the process.
If you’re sick, don’t cook. Order out, have someone else there do it for you. And your
leftovers, put them back in the refrigerator as soon as you can.
>>Lori Casey: I was just going to say, you think about those
big holiday events where everybody eats and then all the food just sits there. I mean,
when does it get to be dangerous for that food to just sit there?
>>Gloria Spear: In our setting, we say after four hours; if
it has been without refrigeration or heat, throw it out.
>>Lori Casey: Okay, so if you have the big, you know, Christmas
dinner, Thanksgiving dinner, you know, everybody eats, people don’t typically want to go, oh
let’s pack all this up, they want to let it sit, you know, so we can munch on it later,
but that’s actually can cause some problems.>>Gloria Spear:
It can be a breeding ground, yes.>>Lori Casey:
Okay, so watch out for that. So, let’s– dining out, we all like to dine out.
>>Gloria Spear: Right.
>>Lori Casey: I mean, it’s a nice thing to have, but you
have no control, really, over the people who are preparing the food. What are some things
that we can do to be safe while we dine out?>>Gloria Spear:
Use your common sense, and by that, if you’re getting food and it’s supposed to be hot,
and it’s the– you’ve got it on the fork at your lips and it’s lukewarm, send it back.
If you’re at a buffet and the cottage cheese is warm, you probably don’t want that cottage
cheese. Many places will put new out. With buffets, they actually have equipment designed
to keep hot food hot and cold food cold. And if it’s not, it’s important to let them because
they may not realize it. If nobody tells them, they may not know. They should be taking temperature,
but they may not know. If you see them preparing your food and they have gloves on, how often
to they change those gloves? If you have to wait an extra minute for somebody to wash
their hands and put gloves on, instead of complain, say thank you.
>>Lori Casey: So, are you more likely, I don’t know if you
have any– we don’t know, but are you more likely to get a food borne illness from a
buffet than from, you know, just ordering off the menu?
>>Gloria Spear: No, actually it’s the restaurant.
>>Lori Casey: Okay.
>>Gloria Spear: And if that facility puts safety at the forefront
of everything they do, chances are you will be safe ordering anything or eating off the
buffet. Likewise, if they don’t know food safety, or they don’t think it’s important,
then you could– you have an increased rate of getting sick.
>>Lori Casey: So, I was up in Minnesota here this winter
at Christmas, and up there they had a big outbreak of norovirus and my sister’s like,
we’re not going out to eat. If there is a large– any kind of outbreak, should you maybe
avoid going to a restaurant because, you know, contaminations, touching the food and tables?
>>Gloria Spear: Well, if you’re going to avoid going to the
restaurant, then you probably need to avoid getting your mail from the mail carrier and
stepping outside of your house or greeting people in any form or fashion.
>>Lori Casey: Just live in a bubble.
>>Gloria Spear: Live in a bubble because our biggest norovirus
outbreaks haven’t necessarily been associated with the food, it’s in an area where there’s
a lot of people and someone has had that projectile vomiting and it got cleaned up but it was
air borne. So, before everybody could run away from it, they were contaminated and again,
that’s on your hands so shaking hands and, you know, any handle, any door handle you
touch, that could be a source as well.>>Lori Casey:
Yeah, so it’s trying to find that fine line between being germaphobic and being out in
the world.>>Gloria Spear:
Right, it’s wash your hands before you eat. Don’t put your fingers in your mouth, we tell
that to kids all the time, but it’s just vigilant hand washing.
>>Lori Casey: And let me ask you, hand washing or hand sanitizer?
>>Gloria Spear: Hand washing, if you don’t have any other
option, by all means, hand sanitizer is fine. But we really don’t acknowledge hand sanitizer
without hand washing; it makes your hands completely sterile. And so we have germs on
our hands that are good and they kind of fight with the bacteria that’s bad, with hand sanitizer,
it’s free sterile open area and germs that don’t normally grow on our hands can grow.
>>Lori Casey: So, have we, do you think, over sanitized?
>>Gloria Spear: Absolutely.
>>Lori Casey: Use of hand sanitizers and sanitizers in–
>>Gloria Spear: When we have, you know, the sanitizing Windex,
that says we’ve gone way too far. And by that, the germs will mutate and grow and eventually
now this antiseptic is no longer something that will cause germs to die.
>>Lori Casey: So, be– the hand washing still the old-fashioned
soap and water for how long?>>Gloria Spear:
Still the old fashioned– 20 seconds.>>Lori Casey:
20 seconds.>>Gloria Spear:
A scrub, between the fingers, fingernails, backs of your hands, and the wrists.
>>Lori Casey: Let’s move into water safety, that’s something
I think, you know, it just comes out of the tap and we don’t often think about– I’ve
noticed since moving to this region, we have a lot more boil orders and things in different
communities. What’s kind of the cause of some of our water safety issues in this area?
>>Gloria Spear: With boil orders, if a line is broken, it–
all they need to know is something happen and it could have been contaminated.
>>Lori Casey: Okay, does that–
>>Gloria Spear: That doesn’t mean it’s contaminated, but we
air on the side of caution and we make sure that before you’re allowed to drink that,
it’s absolutely safe.>>Lori Casey:
Okay, so say someone has lived in the city and now they’ve purchased a home out in the
country and they have a well for their first time. What should they do?
>>Gloria Spear: Ideally the first thing they should do is
have that well water tested.>>Lori Casey:
Okay.>>Gloria Spear:
Many banks require sanitary surveys, which require someone to go out and look at the
well, test the well, make sure it’s in good construction. But the first thing you do is
test it. Overall, we have good water quality here, and by that I mean our nitrates or nitrites
coliform and E. coli, they’re at acceptable levels. But if you want to know what’s in
your well and what’s in that water, you want to get it tested. It’s actually recommended
that it be tested every year.>>Lori Casey:
Okay, so what are some of the common contaminates that you have found in well water?
>>Gloria Spear: All we test for at the Health Department is
the nitrate, nitrite, E. coli and coliform, and any amount of E. coli is enough to say
it’s not safe. Less than 10 nitrates, we say, yeah.
>>Lori Casey: So, where does the E. coli in the water come
from? Is it–>>Gloria Spear:
That means there has been a warm body in the area and it has leaked into the well. And
it could be that the well is no longer constructed properly. It could be an old well that may
have never been constructed properly.>>Lori Casey:
So, if you are– I guess it doesn’t really matter where you’re at, maybe you’re in a
city or you travel abroad and you get sick from the water, is it the same kind of contaminates
that cause food poisoning that are in that water that are making you– and the symptoms
would be similar?>>Gloria Spear:
Yes, it can be.>>Lori Casey:
Okay, so what about, I know you said you do septic system testing, what’s involved in
that?>>Gloria Spear:
Well, we do the inspection and for the septic, we’ll go out if you’re getting a new septic,
getting it repaired, we’ll check the number of bedrooms, we check– we review a soil evaluation
to make sure that where that septic goes the soil can handle it and it can leach down into
the ground. There also has to be a separation distance from various things, from foundation
of the house, from your property line, from wells.
>>Lori Casey: Yeah, I was going to say.
>>Gloria Spear: So, there is a good, clear separation so that
as long as that septic is installed properly, it’s operating properly and the homeowner
has maintained it and it has that separation distance, there should be no problem.
>>Lori Casey: Okay.
>>Gloria Spear: Causing contamination to the well.
>>Lori Casey: So, you recommend again a well inspection
every year?>>Gloria Spear:
Water well sample, yes.>>Lori Casey:
Okay, and is that something that, you know, we’ve got viewers all over, is that something
that all Health Departments do in our region?>>Gloria Spear:
Absolutely.>>Lori Casey:
Okay, and then the septic as well. Gloria in these last few minutes, I want to talk
a little bit about the food safety again. If you had mentioned a lot of times people
get sick and it goes away and they don’t report it. What should you do if you do at a certain
restaurant and you get what you believe to be food borne illness?
>>Gloria Spear: If you think you have food borne illness and
you have those common symptoms that nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, by all means, contact
the Health Department to report the food borne illness. If you’re very, very sick, if it’s
going into dehydration because you’ve had so many episodes, yes see the doctor. But
by all means, contact us. It’s not an imposition; we want to know if there’s a problem, it’s
our job.>>Lori Casey:
Okay, so where can people find information about, you know, food safety and restaurants
in their region to know if they are, you know, complying with Health Department regulations?
>>Gloria Spear: Their local Health Department most likely
has a website and it may have various things on there, symptoms, food borne illness symptoms.
On our website, we do have information about food borne illness, we also have a link to
our 2015 inspections so as we conduct inspections, the inspector brings them back and I upload
them to our website so it’s just what the restaurant sees, the public gets to see that
as well.>>Lori Casey:
Okay, so as we wrap up, just give us a few tips that we always like to leave with some
helpful information about food borne illness, food safety in general. What can we do to
be safe and hopefully avoid those unpleasant symptoms that come along with food borne illness?
>>Gloria Spear: The number one thing, again, is wash your
hands vigilantly. If you see something that doesn’t sit right, don’t hesitate to mention
it to a manager. In fact, they want to hear it form the public before they want to hear
it from us. So, mention if something’s not tasting right. If it doesn’t taste right,
don’t try to continue eating it. Stop right there, if it doesn’t smell right, don’t consume
it. Use your common sense.>>Lori Casey:
And about, you know, that’s restaurant food, how about food in our own home?
>>Gloria Spear: Food in your own home? Put the left overs
away, it’s not a bad idea to date them. Put a thermometer in your refrigerator. You want
the refrigerator to be about 38 so your cold food can be at 41 because you could be making
yourself sick for things not lasting as long as they should be simply because your refrigerator
isn’t running as cool as it should be.>>Lori Casey:
All right, well Gloria thank you so much and hopefully we can avoid those food borne illnesses.
>>Gloria Spear: I hope so.
>>Lori Casey: That are very unpleasant, if you’ve had them
before, we all probably have, it’s not a fun thing to have. So, thank you so much for coming
by Being Well today.>>Gloria Spear:
You’re welcome, thank you.>>Female Speaker:
Being Well is also available online at our YouTube channel, Just
look for the Being Well playlist. Here, you can view current as well as past episodes.
>>Lori Casey: If you’re wondering how long you are contagious
with the stomach flu, here’s some information from Mayo Clinic. A number of viruses can
cause gastroenteritis, including norovirus and rotavirus. The contagious period is slightly
different for each virus. With norovirus, the most common cause of viral gastroenteritis
in adults and children, your contagious from the moment you begin to feel ill. Symptoms
usually appear within one to two days of exposure. Although you typically feel better after a
day or two, you’re contagious for up to three days after you’ve recovered. Some people may
be contagious for up to two weeks after recovery. With rotavirus, the leading cause of gastroenteritis
in infants and young children, symptoms usually appear one to three days after exposure, but
you’re contagious even before you develop symptoms and for up to two weeks after you’ve
recovered. The viruses that cause gastroenteritis are spread through close contact with infected
people such as by sharing food or eating utensils and by touching contaminated surfaces and
objects. Washing your hands often with soap and water and using hand sanitizer is the
most effective way to stop the spread of these viruses to others. Well that’s all the time
we have for this edition of Being Well, we hope to see you back here next week.
>>Female Speaker 1: Production of Being Well is made possible
in part by Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Systems; supporting healthy lifestyles, eating a heart-healthy
diet, staying active, managing stress, and regular check-ups are ways of reducing your
health risk. Proper health is important to all at Sarah Bush Lincoln Health System; information
available at Alpha-Care specializing in adult care services that range from those
recovering from recent hospitalizations to someone attempting to remain independent while
coping with a disability, chronic illness, or age related infirmity. Alpha-Care, compassionate,
professional home care. Additional funding by Jazzercise of Charleston.

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